A historical perspective

Several days ago I received a local historical society “Newsletter.” History is important to any town, city, county, state, etc. but unfortunately there are not enough of them around in most communities to really get all the information down in a timely manner and pass it on to the next generation, etc. But, people who put for the effort do a good job.
The editor has some items in this latest issue that may now be among sought after facts in history but they brought smiles to my face and I thought you might be interested as well.
Facts from the 1500s in Europe—Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide their body odor. Hence, the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.
Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all, the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!”

Houses had thatched roofs—thick straw—piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying, “It’s raining cats and dogs.”
There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence.
The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, “Dirt poor.”
In those days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, “Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.”
After reading the above I was glad I didn’t live in Europe during the 1500s. Can you imagine one bath a year!! Such was life then I guess.
Such are the people, places and things that have touched my life in my West Virginia home!